Research at Nutrition and Food Research Center

Nutrition and Food Research Center is a unique combination of nutrition and food science expertise as part of medical sciences. Even internationally there are only few such units enabling close dialogue and collaboration between food, health and medical sciences.

We specialize in executing research projects that explore the characteristics of food, its interactions within the human body, as well as the aspects of food-related experiences and behaviors. We are interested especially in sustainable food choices, dietary intake, gut microbiota and subsequent metabolic and clinical health impacts throughout the human life-cycle.

Our center possesses clinical research facilities, sensory laboratory and coordinates the Flavoria® Research Platform enabling in depth studies on complex relationship of nutrition and healthy, sustainable food choices.

Our fields of research comprehend:

  • nutrition and nutritional education research
  • food and health promoting effects
  • sustainable food system and planetary diet
  • sensory research
  • consumer research
  • gut health promoting microbes, including probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, and postbiotics research
  • connection between research, gastronomy and art

Research Groups

Food Research Group

The Food Research Group is lead by Professor Anu Hopia.

Only food that becomes eaten is food.

For this simple reason the taste and acceptability of our food is pivotal when trying to understand what we eat. We examine the influence of taste on food choices and the physicochemical factors affecting taste, and develops methods for measuring the food experience.

The food we eat has effects beyond our own body: it influences our economy, our social systems and also the environment. The systemic effects of food production on the environment constitute another key area of our research. Our goal is to find ways to change the Finnish food chain more sustainable through consumer choices and systemic changes in the food production system.

A part of our research group operates within the South Ostrobothnia University Network.


Early Nutrition and Health

Early Nutrion and Health, Professor Kirsi Laitinen, the Director of Nutrition and Food Research Center

The goal of the research group is to provide a scientific basis for the relationship between diet and health, including mechanistic studies, focusing on the effects of maternal nutrition, metabolism and gut microbiome on both maternal and child health. We consider it of importance to evaluate the interactions between diet, metabolism and microbiome in defining clinical health outcomes, including body composition and behavioural factors, as part of a holistic approach.​

We have several on-going studies in mothers and children, including long-term follow-up studies. We also develop and test methods for dietary intake assessment in different groups of individuals. Alongside academic research, we are open for industrially driven research and development projects.



Senses and Food Research Group

Professor Mari Sandell, who represents both the University of Turku and Helsinki, leads the Senses and Food Research Group.

The study focuses are the individual differences in sensory perception, its connection to human health, multisensory experiencing of food and eating behavior.

Mari Sandell's contact information in the University of Turku and in the University of Helsinki

Probiotics Research Group

Professor Seppo Salminen, leads the Probiotics Research Group.

The research is based on co-operation with the children’s clinic and focuses on supporting the microbiota for healthy maturation.

Seppo Salminen's contact information

Recent publications